The Power of One: How One Auto Glass Shop Owner is Making a Difference in Auto Safety

Raymond Clough is trying to make a difference in the auto glass industry and he's taking a unique approach to spreading the word.

Clough opened his own auto glass shop in Oregon three years ago and almost immediately opted to go the untraditional route in marketing his business. Though he bought a few radio spots in the beginning, he started marketing himself and his business on a personal level, getting out and talking to people and, most importantly, discussing safety.

To arm himself with the best possible information, he started studying first windshield safety and then auto safety. Eventually, he got to learning about the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 216, which outlines the parameters of the roof crush test standard that all motor vehicles must pass to be considered safe.

The standard, as Clough explained, was supposed to be temporary. This fall FMVSS 216 has come up for review. The notice of proposed rulemaking was issued in August and was open for public commentary until last Monday, November 21. Noticing that the public commentary phase was drawing to a close with little interest from anyone -inside or outside the automotive industry-Clough teamed up with friends and colleagues to help spread the word.

First and foremost, he and a friend got together and created a website,, the mission of which is "to inform, educate and then motivate to action the consumer to submit a comment to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for the Notice of Proposed Rule Making for Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard #216 (Rollover Roof crush) Docket ID # 22143." The website provides links to the original document, testimonials by those who have been severely injured in rollover accidents wherein a crushed roof contributed to their injuries as well as information and a form to help visitors make a public comment on the proposed rule making.

Once the website was up and running, Clough wanted to make sure the word got out. Though his goal of getting the national media involved didn't work out, he did the next best thing: he harnessed the power of the Internet. He wrote up his thoughts and concerns and e-mailed everyone in his address book, from colleagues and associates within the industry to friends and family, in an effort to get the word out that the proposed changes to standards could and would greatly affect automotive safety.

"It wasn't as successful as I desired, but I've learned and my business partner is helping me, so we always move forward," Clough told glassBYTES in a telephone interview today. "If I had to do it again - which I will - I'm going to make a newsletter [about] auto safety and motor vehicle safety standards."

He's nearly done with the newsletter and hopes to have the first issue out this week.

"People drive around in cars and don't know anything about them. True, they're safer than they used to be," Clough added, but he wants people to know just what's going on and how new rules can affect them. As he explained it, the proposed ruling could limit litigation brought by victims injured in rollover accidents.

This is the kind of information he wants to make sure the public knows about.

"I'm just out there to educate my consumer and I've taken it one step further. A lot of people don't know about auto safety. It's like teaching kids about sex. You have to do it but no one wants to do it," he said. "We're moving forward, developing the newsletter and have links on other relative sites. That'll get the word out there."

Some of his plans to continue to get the word out there is to implement key marketing strategies for the website, such as ensuring that he buys key advertising space, something he'd like to see other consumer safety-advocate sites do.

" needs to be on the top 50 sites baby boomers visit," said Clough, referring to the Auto Glass Replacement Safety Standard (AGRSS) Consumer website.

Now that the public commentary time has closed on FMVSS 216, Clough and his cronies haven't chosen to dismantle the site. If anything, they plan to grow it and shape it into a source of all things related to auto safety.

" is going to change in intent to become all auto safety and how to educate the consumer so that they can make the decision," Clough said.

To visit Clough's website, CLICK HERE.

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